With so many fighting games now lining up on the Nintendo Switch, you may possibly be thinking about investing in a LAN adapter to provide a much more stable and faster internet connection to the system. While the wonders of Wi-Fi brings the convenience of a tangle-less world of technology, the risk of unwanted noise from mobile networks, microwaves, baby monitors, and broadband providers can make you drop a signal faster than you can drop a combo. Masahiro Sakurai himself recommends that the online warriors of Super Smash Bros Ultimate should have their system hardwired for the most optimal experience. Whether that will actually help to get you into the Smash Elite brackets may very well be a different story.
Due to the Nintendo Switch dock’s lack of ethernet port, the alternatives out there can be rather bulky, to say the least. Those that are on sale will usually consist of a lead attached to a clunky power brick-sized converter in order to make that ethernet to USB transition possible. However, accessory king Bionik has forged something much smaller while still promising to maintain a reliable flow in speed. Make way for the Bionik Giganet Adapter. This high-speed USB Ethernet adapter is not much bigger than a pen drive and packs everything that you need besides the ethernet cable. It’s like the nosey neighbor of LAN adapters as it snugs itself discreetly between the conversation of the HDMI and AC adapter outlet. What’s more, is that it also comes ribbed along the side of the shaft of the connector in a thoughtful effort not to block the cooling fan.
Well, that’s the idea at least. With the HDMI, Ethernet, and power cable all plugged in next to each other, the wires still being in the way of the cavity doesn’t really leave a great deal of room for the fan to breath. However, the system never got excessively hot after long periods of gameplay in my experience. At least, not any hotter than it usually would when played through the TV without one attached. What is particularly cool is how the design of the adapter blends in nicely like it was already part of the dock. It has a similar color, texture, and feel to the dock itself with the ridges even matching the bottom of the boxed casing where the three ports and fan is hiding.
In regards to speed testing, I found that my download speeds increased by an average of 30 Mbps with a wired connection. My upload speeds, on the other hand, stayed roughly the same to my Wi-Fi readings. Despite my home broadband being capable of over 200 Mbps download, reaching heights of around 80 Mbps for the Nintendo Switch console isn’t particularly unusual for the system. However, the Bionik Giganet Adapter is USB 3.0 ready, but unfortunately, the Nintendo Switch 3.0 port underneath the casing door still isn’t actually activated yet. This means that this 3.0 USB adapter is instead running at USB 2.0 speeds. That is, of course, until Nintendo pull their finger out and finally give us a system update they promise will eventually support it. On the brighter note, at least the Bionik Giganet Adapter is future proof when the grand opening finally does happen.
In any case, having 80 Mbps hard-wired into the Switch is more than fast enough to quickly download content. For those in the lurch, what makes an ethernet connection the preferred method for online gaming factors in the stability of a consistently low ping and stable flow. Yet, also understand that the Bionik Giganet Adapter isn’t going to work miracles, especially if there’s disruption on the other end of the servers – or your broadband happens to be made by Fisher Price. Another thing to take into account is that the Nintendo Switch is predominantly both a handheld and a home console. So, unless you’re playing against friends wired to their own stable internet connection, there’s always that chance of the formidable lag showing its ugly face due to gamers stretching out their Wi-Fi range from a bedroom.
For what its made for, the Bionik Giganet Adapter does what it needs to do without sticking out the side of the Nintendo Switch like a sore thumb. The 3.0 USB and 10/100/1000-bit Ethernet compatibility ensures that it will do its job just as well, if not more efficiently as system updates and future proofing are concerned. Priced at $24.99 (£29.99), it stands on similar ground to Hori’s own officially licensed product. Yet, with such a sleek and tidy design, the Bionik Giganet Adapter may very well have the edge over its rival.
Review unit provided by Bionik